ADF Dedicant Path: Seventh High Day Essay (Spring Cross-Quarter)

 

The Spring-Cross quarter is most commonly known as Beltane in the neopagan community. It corresponds with our modern May Day and with the German Walpurgis Night. Although the Cross-Quarter days have more historical significance to the Celtic peoples than to the Germanic peoples, the most iconic element of this High Day today is the Maypole, which originated in Germanic lands. The original symbolic meaning of the maypole was lost when it was adapted into a Christian context, though some scholars suggest it had something to do with a reverence for trees or was representative of the world tree, Ygdrassil. Some even suggest that it was a phallic symbol, which would correspond well with our current understanding of Beltane as a fertility festival.

Unlike Eostre, which is also a fertility festival, Beltane celebrates the fertility of the people rather than of the land. This is a logical correspondence for ancient pagans, since the first major planting of the year would have been completed, leaving time for more personal pursuits. Even today, Neopagans retain these associations, despite not being as dependent on the land. We may not have to base our entire livelihoods on our crops, but many of us maintain our own gardens and have plenty of work to keep us busy in early springtime.

The Germanic counterpart to Beltane, Walpurgis Night, is named for the 8th century saint, Walpurga, whose feast was celebrated the following day. Although Christian in origin, the Eve of Walpurga’s feast was and is a night for pagan-based festivities. Germanic pagans believe it is on this night when Witches gather for a celebration on Brocken mountain. It is a night, much like Samhain, when the vail between the worlds is thin and marks the end of Woden’s Wild Hunt, which began on Samhain.

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Posted on April 25, 2016, in ADF Dedicant Path and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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